It’s been speculated on, hinted at, even put to bookies to set odds, but now the buzz has gotten so hot it’s hit the print: Hillary Clinton has the name recognition, the experience, and now she’s got the numbers to be our next president.
On both scores — personal popularity and job performance — Democrats are overwhelmingly supportive of the long-time party leader, as are around two-thirds of independents. Even sizable numbers of Republicans are on board here, particularly when it comes to rating how she is doing as secretary of state: 40 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove.
Clinton’s high profile as Secretary of State has clearly played a role in raising her numbers. Her recent involvement in traversing the sensitive politics of the Israeli/Gaza discord and negotiating a cease-fire vaunted her significantly in both global and national opinion. But, in fact, her polling numbers have been high this entire year, boding well for trending opinion that the 2016 Democratic presidential ticket is hers to lose.
But not to paint too bright a picture, it’s also been noted that presidential politics are a far rougher road than winning approval as a cabinet member. According to a Huffington Post piece:
Election history includes a long list of candidates considered unstoppable until they actually entered the race, and not all of the Americans giving Clinton an early thumbs up are likely to vote for her. Her current backers include not only majorities of Democrats and independents, but nearly a quarter of Republicans.
“It’s hard to see Clinton winning 23 percent of Republicans in an actual campaign; no Democrat has come close to that mark in exit polls dating back 36 years,” said Gregory Holyk, a research analyst for Langer Research. “That’s another sign that, while currently her numbers are positive, actually running for president can be messier than it looks from a popular perch at Foggy Bottom.”
Nonetheless, she leaves her post at State with a stellar resume of accomplishments, a strong and solid global reputation, and positive poll ratings in the core groups of Democratic voters. Given that we’ve just concluded a rough and tumble – and very long – election cycle, it’s too soon to be making any bets. And while numbers don’t lie, time will only tell if they hold. But in the two+ years between now and when the next Presidential campaign cycle begins, Clinton has plenty of time to parlay those numbers into something unstoppable. There are a lot of Democrats, Independents and even some Republicans who hope she does exactly that.
“President Hillary Clinton.” Has a nice ring.
[To see the whole Washington Post-ABC New poll, click here.]